As you travel solo, being totally responsible for yourself, it’s inevitable that you will discover just how capable you are.
Last November, I had the privilege to travel to Italy for business purposes. I was sent by my company in Manila to visit our partners in different regions of Italy to do product training with them, visit the factories and basically learn more about the products we are representing and re-selling to our Manila Market. I spent a whole month in Italy! Yeeaaahh baby, Italy!! 🙂
I’m really grateful and extremely happy that my company has been generous enough to shoulder all the expenses on this trip, and allowed me to spend a week with my parents who are staying in Rome, Italy after all my training has been completed. But before jumping into conclusions that everything about my travel is all pretty and extravagant, let me tell you the whole story:
As the Product Development Manager and Account Executive plus an additional job of taking in charge of the Logistics in my company, you can only imagine how many responsibilities I have in my plate. But the main focus of my job is to really sell high-end quality wardrobes from Italy. Managing, studying and researching about the rest of our products and taking in charge of the Logistics are just small amount of what I do but these are extremely exhausting job to do as well, not to mention the stress! But I’m lucky that my bosses are always generous to give rewards in appreciation of the hard work that we do. I guess when you love what you do, you don’t really mind the stress that a big responsibility brings you.
Last year they sent me and my colleague to Singapore (all-expense paid) so I could check out a Swedish brand that my company is planning to bring in to Manila to cater to the commercial and mid-range market of Manila’s elite, and now with this new brand, our volume order is about 2 full containers every month! Crazy wonderful isn’t? 🙂
Now they made me a deal, that if I were able to close 2 major projects within 2014, I will go to Italy for product training, all-expense paid and the rest is history. So I really worked my ass off, wake up every single day at 5 o’clock in the morning, went to 2-3 site meetings a day, and after work I’ll try to drop by St. Peter’s parish in Commonwealth to offer candles for the accounts I was handling, and viola, I was able to close not just 2 but 4 more major deals by the end of September! 🙂
And before reality kicks me in the butt, I was packing (overly packing I have to say) my stuff and catch my Lufthansa flight to Singapore then Frankfurt then Venice, Italy. I still can’t believe I was landing in Italy again after my last trip here on 2005. A lot has changed, but Italy is still as beautiful and dreamy as it always been. My itinerary is quite hectic, with just few of weekend’s rest and the rest of the days are all travelling, working and visiting factories all over different regions. I apologize but I couldn’t disclose with you the companies and factories I’ve been to but let me show you the map of my adventure in Italy 🙂
My first day in Italy, I landed at Marco Polo, Venice airport wherein a representative of the first company I was visiting was waiting for me. Then we head to Treviso where the company is located. Treviso is such a peaceful, lovely town which I easily fell in love with. With only about 80, 000 inhabitants, Treviso is surrounded by the waters of the Piave, Sile and Livenza Rivers, pleasing landscape on every borders that intermingle with pretty hills and wide fields that are dotted with handsome, elegant and stately homes which I only see at the movies!
I didn’t quite believed that jet lag exists until I experienced it myself. I love flying and all, but to my surprise, I had a hard time getting some sleep at the plane. I thought sleeping pills will do the trick, but dammit! I was wide awake half the time. When I arrived at the hotel, I had renewed energy because I get to see different environment so with only 20 mins. to freshen up, I was on the way to work as soon as possible. But with only little time of sleep plus the huge time difference, by midday I can feel my body weak from exhaustion. But you know, there’s no time to slack!
Despite the exhaustion from the long trip, I sort of step that aside when I saw the 1st company’s reception/museum. They were able to preserve the machinery and tools they used in creating furniture more than 50 years ago and showcased them as a museum inside their reception area.
So many things that Italy is known for; beautiful people, fashion capital of the world, historical architecture, top of the class furniture, and the best thing, their AMAZING food! I seriously blame Italian food for gaining to much weight when I got back in Manila hahaha
I wouldn’t be able to enjoy the Italian food if it weren’t for the great company of my Italian colleagues. They really made sure I was enjoying every bit of my stay with them and I’m eating as much! haha
On my last night with their company, they took me out drinking at Castagnole and we had fun the whole night and keep on laughing out of silly things 🙂 It’s a shame I only get to be with them for a short period of time.
After staying with the company for four days, I then went to the province of Udine located in mid-east Friuli Venezia Giulia and is also known as the border from Austria to the north, Slovenia to the east and Adriatic Sea from the South. The next two companies I was visiting was located in the town called Manzano, which is popularly known as the Italian Chair District with its infamous gigantic chair in the middle of Rotunda.
The next company I was visiting is one of the longest running makers of chairs and dining sets in the whole history of Italian furniture. And I had the privilege to visit their factory and learn more about the company. My new colleague is a sweet mom with a sweet tooth just like myself! hehe I only get to stay with them for one whole day and she was kind enough to take me out for a night stroll at Udine, one of the most historical places ever existed and one of the best shopping districts in Italy 🙂
After staying in Udine for 2 days, I then traveled via speed train to Milan and spent the whole weekend there in preparation for my next company visit which is located in Cantu, Como.
To be continued…